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Tuesday's Practice Pitch Updates

After an exciting come-from-behind win on Saturday, the Black and Gold returned to the training ground Tuesday to prepare for their final two games of the regular season.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Columbus Crew completed one of their biggest comeback wins in recent memory, scoring three goals in four minutes after finding themselves down 2-0 to the Philadelphia Union in the second half. Columbus got back to work on Tuesday, after taking Monday off, as they continue their push for the 2014 post season.

Training was finishing up as the media were allowed in the compound. Many of the starters from Saturday's game had already made their way into the facility for lifting. Federico Higuain and head coach Gregg Berhalter worked on free kick with wall dummies, while many other players practiced crossing and finishing at the other end of the field.


Before the media entered, midfielder Daniel Paladini, who suffered a fractured fibula and tibia and had successful surgery in September, walked out with no obvious limp. Paladini stopped to chat briefly (while trying to remember where he parked his car) and said things are going well.

Kei Kamara, who signed with the Crew last week but won't be available until 2015 due to contract issues, trained with the club today. He walked off the field with a smile on his face and said training went well.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Berhalter was asked about his approach for Sunday's game against the New York Red Bulls, where a win or a tie would qualify the team for the playoffs, he said wasn't sure how they would present the match to the team quite yet.
  • He said the New York game has playoff implications in terms of who plays who and where and such. Called it an interesting game.
  • Berhalter said it's fantastic that they now know what they need to do to be in the post season. The Crew have one team, Toronto FC chasing them, and they are chasing those in front of them. He said the win over the Philadelphia Union was big because they are now out of the picture. Pointed out they are chasing three teams.
  • Berhalter took blame for presenting the game as a win or tie situation last week. He said he thought the players were uneasy between the 60-70 minute mark. He said the goal last week was to stay above the red line. He said if you stay above the red line, they're good and a tie or a win would have done that.
  • Berhalter said they can't focus on moving above fifth place until they reach their first goal of qualifying for the playoffs. He said their point total isn't reached yet, but still wouldn't reveal the number they want to reach.
  • Asked where Saturday's game ranks in his experience, Berhalter didn't answer exactly but said that's why you play the game and it's not over until it's over. He said all of those sayings are there for a reason. He called it a memorable game.
  • Berhalter called Ethan Finlay's goal to make the game 2-1 one of the better goals of the year.
  • He said you could see the confidence of Union go down and the Crew players took advantage of that.
  • Berhalter said they've done a great job of fighting back this year, especially on the road. The head coach pointed to games in Chicago, Seattle, Houston, and this game. He said the confidence that they can come back comes into play when they find themselves down.
  • Berhalter said he didn't think Finlay played his best game, but he comes up with a "world class" finish. Finlay can now make an impact even when he doesn't have a great game.
  • Asked about Finlay and the U.S. National Team, Berhalter said he hasn't talked to anyone official about, but believes he should be in the conversation.
  • Berhalter said he thought Bernardo Anor and Ben Speas, both filling in for suspended players, came in and did fine. He said what they asked those players to do is not easy.
  • Berhalter said they know Jairo Arrieta can score in this league because he's done it before and that's comforting. He called the forward a handful to play against and said it's only positive to have him returning to full form.
  • The head coach was asked who the team's Man of the Match was for the game and he realized, in the excitement of the win, they forgot to give out a game ball.